GDC 2013 Highlights: Tomb Raider & StarCraft II: HotS Talks

Today’s highlights begin with Blizzard’s Wyatt Cheng, who will explore his company’s iterative design process in ‘Through the Grinder: Refining Diablo III’s Game Systems.’ Cheng will focus particularly on what worked and what did not for the game’s health recovery, controls, and skills systems.

‘The Reinvention of Tomb Raider’ called for a reinvention of Crystal Dynamics, studio head Darrell Gallagher and creative director Noah Hughes will share. Along with a studio “reboot,” the two will discuss how the game required rebooted creative vision and production techniques to develop a Tomb Raider for a modern audience.

In another Blizzard session, lead writer Brian Kindregan will trace the story development of a difficult StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm cinematic in ‘How Hard Could It Be? The Story of a Cinematic.’ While showing multiple versions, Kindregan will track “the differing speed of cinematic production vs. game design, the feedback we received, the choices we made, and how they impacted the story.”

In ‘Making it Matter: Lessons from Real Sports,’ QWOP and GIRP creator and University of Oxford research fellow Bennett Foddy will share five ways in which real world sports make players care about how they play. Attendees will learn ways to leverage “cultural structures and practices of real world sports to maximize player involvement and concern.”

Lastly, NaturalMotion will offer a pair of business-focused lectures for its freemium mobile title, CSR Racing, which generated more than $12 million in one month. In ‘Secrets and Lessons’, CEO Torsten Reil will show how CSR Racing was designed to get downloads through virality instead of costly user acquisition campaigns. Elsewhere, VP Jason Avent will explain ‘How CSR Broke the Mold in Freemium’ by delivering “cutting edge 3D graphics and console sensibilities to the iOS app store.”

So what do you think of some of the highlights to come out of GDC already? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below and keep an eye out for more GDC news right here on VGU.